Jackie Le Poidevin, Editor-in-Chief, HR Adviser


New Predictable Working Code: Your Key Points

On 25 October, Acas launched a consultation on its draft statutory Code of Practice on predictable work requests. This sets out the proposed procedure you’ll need to follow to comply with the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023, which received Royal Assent in September. Both the legislation and the Code of Practice are expected to come into force next autumn, along with an updated Code of Practice on responding to flexible working requests. We provide an overview of the draft Code so you can start to plan for the new requirements.

What’s the New Right?

If they meet the eligibility requirements, the Act gives workers, including people on zero-hours contracts and agency workers, the right to request more certainty around their working pattern. They will be able to make up to two such requests a year if the hours or days they work are unpredictable or their contract is for 12 months or less.

What Process is Set Out in the Code?

The draft Code explains what steps you’ll be expected to take to handle predictable working requests in a reasonable way. It mirrors the flexible working regime in many ways, stating that you should:

  • Meet with the worker to discuss the request before making a decision.
  • Allow them to bring a
  • Consider the worker’s current working pattern – for example, are they already working broadly the same days, times or number of hours?
  • Only reject the request if you have good business reasons (as set out in the legislation) and provide reasonable additional information to help explain any refusal.
  • Consider if there are alternative arrangements for providing more predictability before you reject a request and, if there are, discuss these with the worker.
  • Not discriminate against the worker (e.g. on grounds of sex) in reaching your decision.
  • Offer an appeal if you reject the request.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to complete this process within 1 month. In contrast, you currently have 3 months to respond to a flexible working request, although this is set to be reduced to 2.

If the individual is an employee, their request should state if they’ve made a previous request for flexible working and, if so, when. They can’t have more than one live request under the two regimes with the same employer.

There are also some complex provisions on deciding requests when the worker’s contract ends during the 1-month decision period.

What Else Does the Code Say?

The draft Code also:

  • Includes some details which aren’t in the Act and which presumably reflect the as-yet-unpublished regulations fleshing out how the new right will work. For example, it sets out that a worker can only make a request if they worked for you ‘at least once in the month… before the 26 weeks leading up to the day of the request’.
  • States that you must not subject a worker to any detriment (i.e. unfavourable treatment such as ceasing or reducing offers of work to them) because they have made or intend to make a predictable work request.
  • Sets out how the rules apply to agency workers. They will be able to make requests to either their agency or the hirer.

What Should We Do Now?

If you wish to respond to the consultation, you should do so by 17 January 2024. You’ll also need to be ready to update your policies and train managers in the new framework as soon as the Code of Practice is finalised and the implementation date for the legislation is confirmed. The Code won’t be legally binding but the tribunals will take it into account when deciding any claims, so it will be important to follow it.



Emma Lampka, Editorial Board Member, Health & Safety Adviser and Risk Assessment & Compliance


Stay Legally Compliant with these Dos and Don’ts of Asbestos

Asbestos is the greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths every year. It can take between 15-60 years for symptoms to develop after exposure, so it may not affect people immediately but may do so later in life. Therefore, you need to start protecting your employees against exposure to asbestos now because the effect is cumulative. By reading this article, you’ll discover the dos and don’t of managing asbestos in your organisation, plus you’ll get a practical management plan to reduce asbestos exposure to your staff.

As long as asbestos is in good condition and is not disturbed or damaged, there is negligible risk. However, if asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) become disturbed or damaged, they can become a danger to health because the asbestos fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled directly into the lungs.

Areas where Asbestos May be Present

Although it’s now illegal to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of any premises, many thousands of tonnes of it were used in the past in things such as:

  • Lagging on plant and pipework.
  • Insulation products such as fireproof panels.
  • Asbestos cement roofing material.
  • Sprayed coatings on structural steel work to insulate against fire and noise.

Much of this material is still in place, although buildings constructed after 2,000 are unlikely to contain ACMs.

Your Legal Duties Surrounding Asbestos

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, If you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of non-domestic premises you are required to:


  • Take reasonable steps to find out if there are ACMs present and, if so, how much material, where it is, what type it is (for example, tile, boards, lagging) and what condition it is in.
  • Make and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of the ACMs (or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos).
  • Clearly identify any areas that have not been surveyed.
  • Prepare a plan that sets out how the risks from these materials will be managed.
  • Take the necessary steps to put the plan into action.
  • Provide information on the location and condition of any ACMs to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them.


  • Disturb asbestos: it’s only dangerous when disturbed and if it is safely managed and contained, it’s not a health hazard.
  • Remove asbestos unnecessarily: this can be more dangerous than leaving it in place and managing it.

Follow Our Asbestos Exposure Reduction Plan

To help you carry out your ‘duty to manage asbestos’, ask yourself the following questions and follow our advice to create your management plan:

  • Are you responsible for maintenance or repair? If yes, does the duty to manage apply to you and your premises?
  • When was your building built? Was it built before 2000? Are you on a brownfield site or do you use old equipment?
  • What information do you have already? Look at any building plans, previous asbestos surveys and any other relevant documents.
  • Inspect your building. Create an asbestos register to list where asbestos may be present. You may want to use an external service contractor to undertake this survey.
  • Determine the priorities for action. Use your own internal scoring system to work out what to address first.
  • Decide how to deal with the different types of asbestos. If you do not have the internal expertise, consult a specialist on how to treat the different types of asbestos e.g. sprayed asbestos, asbestos cement.
  • Write your asbestos management plan. The plan brings together your asbestos register, plans of work and schedule.
  • Test for asbestos. If work is required, you need to test for asbestos first.
  • Tell people what you’re doing. You need to tell employees, contractors and maintenance workers about your findings.
  • Get the work done. Does the work need a licenced contractor? If you’re not sure, consult a specialist who can provide you with appropriate guidance.
  • Keep your records up to date. If any work is done on asbestos, your records need updating and you need regular checks on the state of the asbestos.


Sarah Bradford, Editor-in-Chief, Pay & Benefits Adviser

4 Common Payroll Mistakes and How You Can Correct them

Mistakes happen and, when they do, it’s important to know how to correct them. Payroll is no exception. In the October issue of their Employer Bulletin publication, HMRC explained how to correct payroll mistakes made in an earlier tax year. The procedure for correcting mistakes changed from April 2019 and the approach that needs to be taken depends on the type of mistake and the year in which it was made.

Mistake 1. Reporting the Wrong Pay or Deductions

If the mistake relates to the current tax year, putting things right is straightforward. You simply need to update the figures next time you submit your regular Full Payment Submission (FPS).

However, if your mistake was in the 2022/23, 2021/22 or 2020/21 tax year, you will need to send another FPS to HMRC showing the correct year-to-date figures.

For mistakes in either the 2019/20 or 2018/19 tax year, you have a choice as to how you rectify the error – you can either send an Earlier Year Update (EYU) to HMRC or you can send a further FPS showing the correct year to date figures.

If you discover a mistake in the 2017/18 tax year, you will need to correct this by sending an EYU to HMRC showing the difference between the figures that you originally reported and the correct figures (so that when taken together the figures are correct). Mistakes can only be corrected using an EYU for tax years when you were reporting in real time information. If your payroll software package does not allow you to send an EYU, you can use HMRC’s free Basic PAYE Tools package to do so.

Different rules apply if the mistake was made in your final submission for the tax year.

Mistake 2. Wrong Pay or Deduction Date in Final FPS

If the error relates to a mistake in the last FPS that you submitted for the tax year, the action that you need to take depends on when you discovered the mistake.

If you reported payments or deductions incorrectly and found the mistake before 19 April after the end of the tax year, you can send HMRC an additional FPS showing the correct year-to-date figures and ‘0’ in the ‘pay in this period’ field. If you do not find the error until after 19 April after the end of the tax year, you simply need to send in an additional FPS showing the correct year to date amounts.

Mistake 3. Wrong Payment Date in Final FPS

In the event that you find that you entered the payment date incorrectly in your final FPS submission for the tax year, you can correct the error by sending an additional FPS to HMRC showing the correct payment date. You should enter ‘0’ in the ‘pay in this period’ field and check that the year-to-date figures are correct.

Mistake 4. Incorrect Student Loan Deductions

As an employer, you are required to deduct student and postgraduate loan repayments from an employee’s pay and pay the deductions over to HMRC. If you find that you have deducted the wrong amount, the action that you need to take depends on whether the mistake was made in the current or a previous tax year.

If you have deducted too much in the current tax year, you can repay the excess to the employee. However, you should amend your payroll records so that the year-to-date figures are correct. If you have not deducted enough and you can collect the shortfall from the employee in the current tax year, you should do so. Again, you should amend your payroll records to show the actual deductions.

If the mistake relates to a previous tax year, you should not seek to correct it. Instead, you should advise your employee to contact the Student Loans Company.